Written by Michaela MacBlake MatthewsFinding the time to create can have a serious snowball effect. As creative people, we often tend to phase through seasons of hyper-creation, and dry spells. Sometimes, our creative passions can even get away from us for months or years… even decades, if we let them.
So, how do we make the time to be creative?
The Secret Is In The Sauce
What we tend to forget during creative droughts, is that during our on-seasons, we aren’t just knitters, crocheters, artists, or musicians. When the creative hat is on, it breathes life into everything we do. We cook with a bit more finesse, we sing in the shower, we make up little jokes and comedy sketches throughout the day in our internal monologues. (And if the mood is right, we might even act them out.)
Creativity is not chained to a certain hobby or craft, but rather, is the result of being unchained as an individual.
When you’re looking to splice a bit more creativity into your schedule, the first step is to overlay it onto your schedule. Similar to new-car syndrome, when you purchase a new vehicle and then suddenly notice how often you see that model on the road, if you start your day with a bit of creativity, you’re more likely to find places to flex that muscle in your daily tasks.
The Counterintuitive Nature Of Timing Ideas
Finding ways to be more creative throughout the mundane parts of your day is essential to making time for your actual creative hobbies, because it primes the mind for inspiration. Feeling inspired, or embracing a bit of whimsy, strengthens our ability to be positively impulsive; and that is something that scheduling, by the sheer nature of what it is, can never do.
When we try to schedule time to be creative, we’re only furthering the grip that structure has on our lives. For career creatives, it may work well to delegate time slots, but for a self-driven dreamer, scheduling tends to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Scheduled creation is essentially production: it works great for large projects, but it doesn’t help to relieve a dry spell.
The Root Cause
Trying to start being creative again from a dead stop is like trying to get dressed in the morning by saying to yourself, “cotton, cotton… denim, shoes.” The first person experience is very different from the mental description, and over-analyzing can make the task much harder than it needs to be.
In creative states, we have a surplus of ideas, and the cream rises to the top naturally. If we have two or three good ideas, we might even roll them into one hybrid of a great one.
Finding Time To Be Creative
The truth is, free time is a myth of perception. When a person becomes possessed by a great idea, they will clear out chunks of time to pursue it, just as a mother could lift a car to save her baby. While we are in a creative season, we’re likely to stash notes everywhere we go, and keep the ideas flowing in far greater volumes than we could ever produce in 3D.
It is that surplus of inspiration, and that motivated creative energy, that knows how to be creative, and fill in the gaps wherever it can. Inspiration can create awesome things in five to fifteen minute chunks each day, whereas an imagination drought could easily waste two hours trying to think of something to be creative about.
So, all that said, here are my five tips for things to do this morning, that will have you creating again by tonight:
- Perform a note-for-note vocal impression of Ballroom Blitz while brushing your teeth.
- Arrange your lunch to look like something. (If it’s a smiley face, really go all out on it.)
- Take note of every single purple thing you see today. Don’t count them.
- Move your shoulders and/or waist during a conversation to express an idea at least three times.
- Actively try to recall the smell of every perfume or cologne you’ve ever owned.
After following these five tips, you will have activated each of the five senses in an unscheduled way. Breaking up the routine with these sorts of prompts (and coming up with more of your own!) breaks down the barriers to getting back into a creative mood. All we ever need to do is wake it up and feed it. From there, the free flowing state of mind knows exactly what to do!
As you find yourself becoming more creative throughout the day, you will most likely begin to think of your typical tasks from new angles… and shave off a few minutes, at the very least, to reward yourself with some whimsy.